By: Gregg Kleiner

For 12 years, Lindsay Dec worked as a licensed massage therapist. She noticed that many of her
clients would talk during the massage — telling her stories about their lives and describing
challenges they were facing, from fears to family issues.
“People seemed to be looking to me for help or advice,” Dec says.
Because she didn’t feel qualified to do much more than listen, Dec started looking for a new
career that would give her the skills and credentials to help people in a new way — one that
could bridge the mind-body connection. During her search, she stumbled across the Master of
Counseling program at OSU-Cascades.
“When I found that, I just knew,” she says. “I wanted to continue to help others, so this was
perfect.”

The program’s location was also perfect, since Dec was already living in Bend, Oregon, where
she’d moved in 2010. The program’s part-time option allowed her to continue her massage
practice while pursuing a master’s degree.
She credits her parents with influencing her overall career path.
“They always taught us t

o help people, to foster connections with others, and my mom always
emphasized the golden rule,” Dec says.
In 2014, she earned her master’s in clinical mental health counseling and now works as a
counselor at Bend Counseling and Biofeedback Inc.
“The best part of the program was — and still is — the faculty,” Dec says. “They are just
amazing — the adjunct faculty, too. There is great breadth of experience and a range of
strengths. I felt very well-supported, and I’m still in contact with some of the faculty.”
While in the program, Dec completed three different internships — one at the Warm Springs
Indian Reservation, one at a Bend relief nursery for vulnerable children and one at the
counseling office where she now works. She also earned a certificate in Interpersonal
Neurobiology from Portland State University and completed HeartMath Biofeedback training
during her graduate program.
“It was a little insane,” she says of all she did while working on her master’s.
Now that her formal training is complete, Dec still stays busy. She serves on the OSU-Cascades’
Counseling Program Advisory Board and is raising a puppy named PJ to be a certified therapy
dog.

“Therapy dogs are great in nursing homes, and they can help kids who struggle with reading,”
says Dec, who brings PJ to the office with her. “My clients love her and say PJ is
going to make a great therapy dog.”
For Dec, OSU-Cascades was the right location with the right faculty and the right focus. And it’s
clear she loves her new career.

 

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6 thoughts on “From Massage Therapist to Mental Health Counselor

  1. Therapy dogs can be very helpful for people with depression for example. I have clients whose dogs are very important to them and our source of comfort during difficult times. I know in my early recovery from alcoholism, My dog helps me get out of my own head and engage me and healthy activities.

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  2. Massage therapy has a significant influence on the psychology of a person as it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Besides, massage therapy influences the nervous system of the body and stabilizes the nerve endings. It has been found that massage therapy also helps to reduce the cortisol level in our body which is secreted due to stress and anxiety. The mental health of a person influences the physical health and social behavior of an individual. So, suitable initiatives should be taken into consideration to keep mental health stable.

    Reply

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